Lessons learned in the infantry inspires ROTC student to serve again
A stint in the Army, including nine months as an infantryman in Afghanistan, has taught Dillon Sizemore some valuable life lessons that he says are benefiting him today, and will last long into the future.
“I developed a new-found respect for education after serving. The discipline and time management the Army demands paid off when I decided to earn a degree at Clemson,” said Sizemore, a native of Anderson. “Those skills I learned are a big reason why I’ll be going back into active duty as second lieutenant after I graduate.”
As husband to Kortney and father to 20-month-old daughter, Brantleigh, Dillon expects to graduate in May with a major in management and an emphasis in entrepreneurship, and a minor in military leadership. He said his Army ROTC training at Clemson was an extension of what he learned as a mortar man with the 3rd Batallion, 7th Infantry Regiment on the battlefield.
“Everything about the ROTC program is focused on leadership and how to become an effective leader,” he said. “The program is adding another dimension to what I learned as an enlisted man. The leadership training will help me in my next step in the military and for what life brings after that.”
After graduating from Anderson’s Westside High School in 2009, Dillon attended The Citadel, but after a year there, he enlisted for financial reasons. The decision taught him respect for opportunities, like an education.
“When I first entered college I didn’t have the respect for school. My experience in the military changed that and taught me how not to take things for granted,” he said. “The experience made me realize how opportunities like an education shouldn’t be wasted. I matured and learned to manage my life better as a result of the time I served.”
Dillon said he originally wanted to use his military service to take advantage of educational benefits afforded through the G.I. Bill. “Truth is, I ended up falling in love with the military because of what I learned and how I matured as a person. Today, I take great pride in serving my country and for how the military has given me good direction,” he said.
The direction of Dillon’s next military stint will likely involve boots under a desk versus them being on the ground. Though he won’t know for a while where he’ll serve, he should know in November what he’ll be doing, which he expects will be in the areas of human resources or financial management.
“The Army provides officers with a wide range of career choices,” he said. “With a child, and another on the way, it seems a wise direction for me, yet it provides the opportunity for developing leadership skills, while still serving my country.”
Dillon said his entrepreneurship focus in the College of Business was more directed for his post-military life and his desire to go out on his own in the business world. As an undergraduate, he started a business, which helped pay his growing family’s bills. Post-military he sees himself owning a business that lends itself to outdoor work.
“My Entrepreneurship 3010 class came after I had started my business. I would have done things a lot differently had the course come before the business. But I have that business knowledge now, and what I learned in the military and ROTC. Together, they provide me with a solid foundation on which to build a future for my family. I am very fortunate and grateful for the opportunities my country has provided me.”
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